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Information Services retails information when people call in, write in, or dial us up on their computers. Funds for small improvements of the technological sort are included in our request, so too are overdue improvements in the Department's library, which is on such short rations this year it can acquire few new books or periodicals
That is it. We are seeking to grow, the President asked us to grow. But I think it is for good and useful purposes. We think we are giving the Congress and the taxpayer a reasonably good return on the funds we are spending now and hope to do so again in fiscal year 1989.
Thank you for your patience. I would be happy to respond to your questions.
[The information follows:)
Extensive travel in the U.S.A., Europe, Asia, Africa, and Pacific
Phi Delta Kappa, Harvard University Chapter
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Chester E. Finn, Jr.
Education Research and Statistics
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
We appreciate the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the 1989 budget for Education Research and Statistics.
Fiscal Year 1989 Request
In 1867, Congress created a fledgling Federal education agency and directed it to provide the Nation with regular information on "the condition and progress of education." The Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) bears the primary responsibility within the current Education Department for carrying out this oldest and most central element of the Federal role in American education.
For 121 years, OERI and its predecessors have gathered, analyzed, and disseminated information about education. On behalf of the President, I come before you today to request the resources necessary to carry on and improve upon this long tradition.
We are requesting $81 million for 1989, which 18 $13.5 million more than the $67.5 million appropriated · for 1988. We propose to use the $81 million, distributed as shown in Chart 1, to investigate nany 18sues of concern to virtually everyone involved in or affected by -- better education; to continue repairing the Nation's education statistics base; to track the education reform aovement, to help us better understand "what works" in education; and, through our publishing and dissemination activities, to get more such information into the hands of parents, practicing educators, policymakers, and other education-dnded Americans.
It is fitting that our request comes just weeks before the fifth anniversary of the publication of A Nation at Risk, the report which helped spark massive reform efforts in States and localities across the country. Education continues to rank high on the public agenda. Citizens consistently point to the quality of schooling as a domestic 188ue of overriding importance, and elected officials (and aspirants) are sensitive to their concerns. Indeed, America's desire for excellence in education has probably never been keener.
Education changes begun in the past few years have wrought sone distinct and noteworthy improvements in how some schools are run and children are educated. But these accomplishments pale in the face of what remains undone. Young people continue to abandon their schooling at unacceptably high rates, yet we are only now beginning to collect national dropout data on a regular basis. School reformers are acting quickly to implement sweeping changes that may remain in place for decades, changes such as increasing
graduation requirements, reinvigorating the core curriculum, and restructuring certification practices and reward systems for teachers, to name but a few. Yet we frequently lack the information needed to evaluate either the immediate impact or long-range effects of these policies. Indeed, the knowledge we have gained about good practice is sometimes fragmentary, the research findings inconclusive, and the statistical data incomplete.
The context of our request is also worthy of note. In 1985, this Administration reorganized the National Institute of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the Center for Libraries and Education Improvement into a single organization, the "new" Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Secretary Bennett and I had several goals for OERI, among which were: improve the Nation's statistical information on education, filling gaps in currently available data; to provide reliable and valid information about education outcomes and quality, as well as about what works in education; to enlarge the intellectual capital of education by investing in well-chosen, high-quality studies of important issues and problems; and to improve the dissemination and use of education information among education practitioners, policymakers, and the general public.
We have since made significant progress in repairing our statistics and assessment capabilities, thanks in part to funding increases you and your colleagues in the Congress have granted the Center for Education Statistics. The funds we request for the Center in fiscal year 1989 will help us further develop the statistics and assessment rejuvenation process begun in 1985 and signifcantly advanced in 1988.
We have made much more limited progress to date in the research, improvement, and dissemination functions of OERI. We have been able, for example, to establish several research "mini-centers" to investigate teaching and learning in the key content areas of math, science, and elementary education; and, in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, we have established a kindred center in art and another one in literature. We are also well on our way to establishing two larger centers in fiscal year 1988, one to study leadership in education and one to examine education technology. We have created and disseminated a variety of readable publications, such as What Works, What Works II, and our "Researchin-Brief" series, which translate research findings into layman's terms and are directed at parents and educators. And we have produced both more practitioner oriented publications, like our Principal Selection Guide and Dealing with Dropouts, and more policymaker directed items, such as Japanese Education Today and What's Happening in Teacher Testing.
But resource constraints, earmarks, and minimum spending levels in our authorizing legislation have worsened over the years phenomenon documented by the General Accounting Office a few months back and have left us, in fiscal year 1988, with a sorely unbalanced portfolio of research activities. This year we must devote 94 percent of our research budget (excluding ERIC) to regional laboratories and university-based centers; only a tiny sum is left to support individual researchers and other kinds of worthy research projects. Chart 2 illustrates this situation.